5 gorgeous British period dramas to watch after Bridgerton
Landing on Christmas Day 2020, Netflix’s Bridgerton captured audiences and had them in raptures around the world. Narrated by Julie Andrews, produced by Shondaland, and based on the bestselling novels by Julia Quinn, the series is set in London high society between 1813 and 1827, when the Bridgerton siblings are on their quest for love and marriage, along with the security and status ensured by the right match.
The cast boasts Regé-Jean Page, who grew up in Zimbabwe, and is a Shondaland alumnus from For The People, plus Phoebe Dynevor (you’ll recognise her as Josh’s Irish love interest in Younger) as the female lead, Daphne Bridgerton.
Once you’ve binge-watched all eight hour-long episodes, you’ll probably be craving more period drama that gets your heart racing while providing pleasantly soothing visuals. Here are our pick for the best shows on Showmax to follow in Bridgerton’s footsteps on your watchlist.
Audiences quickly became addicted to this immersive series written and created by Julian Fellowes. This is as authentic as period drama gets: actual historical events shape the plotlines about the Crawley family and the servants who live with them in Downton Abbey.
Moving away from the English countryside and to the wider British Empire, this show, dubbed “Delhi’s Downton Abbey”, is set in India, in the 19th Century. Tom Bateman stars as the enigmatic John Beecham, an employee of the East India Trading Company, in this series from famed director Gurinder Chadha, who also brought us Viceroy’s House (the movie is also on Showmax).
Yorkshire, England, 1832. Landowner Anne Lister will do whatever it takes to save her ancestral home, and that includes marrying well – but not to a man. Based on the story of the real-life Anne and her search for a wife, this may be an unusual love story for the time, but it features all the same social politics, romance and scandal you’d expect from a period drama. It also features a grand old manor house in the English countryside.
Sex, revenge and cunning are everywhere in this raunchy show about an 18th-Century London brothel owner raising her stunning daughters in a very seedy world. Starring Jessica Brown Findlay, Samantha Morton, Lesley Manville, and, in Seasons 2 and 3, Liv Tyler. Harlots is less soothing, more challenging but ultimately more interesting than the other shows on this list, and Salon.com says, of the third season, “Harlots skips with a rebellious sense of joy.”
Victoria follows the early life of Queen Victoria, from her ascension to the throne at the tender age of 18 to her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert and the challenges to her reign. Season 3 has a 92% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the critics consensus saying, “Victoria continues its reign as one of TVs most handsomely rendered offerings.”